Ofori-Atta defends Free SHS policy despite calls for repeal

In the face of mounting criticism and calls for the repeal of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy, the Finance Minister has stepped forward to defend the initiative, emphasizing the moral responsibility to ensure every Ghanaian child has access to education.

The policy has been under scrutiny due to challenges related to feeding and infrastructural issues in schools.

During a meeting with the business community ahead of the 2023 Mid-year Budget Review, the Finance Minister acknowledged the concerns surrounding the Free SHS policy and agreed that means testing could be a possible solution.

However, he emphasized that being a Ghanaian citizen entitles all children to the fundamental human right of education.

He argued that even if some parents may not be able or willing to support their children’s education, it is the collective responsibility of the nation to find a way for those children to receive an education.

“There is the issue of Free Senior High School, people talk about us doing the means testing, which I agree, but we should also consider that that child is Ghanaian so the fact that the parent may not want to do it does not mean that as a Ghanaian citizen, I should not find a way for that child to go through Senior high.”

”In terms of the genuineness in placing this country where it should be, I can assure you that President Akufo-Addo and what he thinks about is the strength of the human capital at whatever cost. Get people educated, and it’s limitless what they can do,” the Finance Minister stated.

The Free SHS policy, which was introduced to provide free secondary education for all Ghanaian students, has faced challenges in recent times.

One of the major issues is related to feeding, with some schools struggling to provide adequate meals for their students due to funding and supply constraints.

As a result, there have been concerns that some schools may even have to consider shutting down if these problems persist.

The situation has sparked debates among citizens and policymakers alike, with some arguing that the policy needs to be reevaluated and possibly repealed to address the growing challenges effectively.

However, amid these calls for change, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has firmly assured the public that the Free Secondary Education Policy will remain intact.

It was noted that even in the context of seeking support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government is committed to preserving the policy and its fundamental goal of ensuring accessible education for all Ghanaian students.

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